It’s spring, so that means it’s mushroom picking season! *crickets chirps* Yeah, many people’s opinions on mushrooms seem to fall on the far end of the spectrum –general indifference (“those things that go on pizza sometimes”). Few are at the other end – enthusiasts who probably feel confident going mushroom picking at all. With the help of the foodie revolution, the rest of us fall somewhere in between with some knowledge of varieties beyond the basic white button mushrooms. Portobello? Porcini? Chanterelles?
I enjoy sautéing these fleshy fungi with a little butter and then sprinkling a little salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon over them. They’re also great in vegetarian dishes because some hearty varieties like portobellos have a meaty texture that can add a more substantial mouth feel. But how about a dish that features them a little more prominently? A variety of whole mushrooms sautéed in butter added to a mushroom based broth sounded like the perfect way to play with a variety of mushrooms in one dish.
Just use whatever mushrooms are local and in season. The beauty of commercial mushrooms though is that many are cultivated indoors and can be found year round. You will probably come across a plethora of mild tasting ones. Beech mushrooms are cute, tiny white or brown capped fungi that have a delicately mild flavor. The eryngii mushroom (a.k.a. king mushroom) is thick and meaty with a white stem and small tan cap. The shitake mushroom’s flavor is a bit more robust and earthy than your standard fungi, so give them a quick sauté to see if they suit you.
2 quarts of water (8 cups of water)
16 oz. crimini mushrooms, quartered
4-6 minced garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 large carrots (penny slice 2 of the carrots, cut 1 carrot into thick chunks)
3 stalks of celery, (slice 2 stalks thin, cut 1 stock into thick chunks)
½ large yellow onion (cut into chunks)
8 oz. pappardelle or egg noodles
1 tablespoon butter
16 oz. mushroom variety, cut into 1/4″ pieces if large (e.g. beech,
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sherry
- Broth: Put 2 quarts of water, crimini mushrooms, onion, carrot and celery cut into thick chunks, garlic, bay leaf, and peppercorns to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and simmer for 2 hours. Strain broth to remove solids. Set aside.
- Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water according to directions. Drain and set aside.
- While waiting for water for the water for the noodles to boil, take your variety of mushrooms and slice large ones into bite size pieces. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee mushrooms for 3-5 minutes.
- Bring mushroom broth to a simmer. Add wild mushrooms, carrots, celery, white parts of scallions, sherry 1.5 teaspoon of salt; simmer for 6 minutes or until tender. Season with 1 teaspoon of pepper.
- Portion noodles into bowl(s). Ladle mushroom soup into bowl. Garnish with green sliced scallions and celery leaves. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.